In 2015, Google revealed that they have seen an 180% increase in websites being hacked. And that news is still a perennial problem until today. Since WordPress is the most widely-used open-source CMS (Content Management System), hackers are more likely drawn to WordPress sites so they can take over as many websites as they can to serve their own vile purposes.
While the people behind WordPress are doing their best to keep it secure, it is still a flexible platform–where one can inject it with different plugins or themes to suit the owner’s tastes. It is possible that not all of these extensions have secure coding standards which can pose a security problem for the website. So we encourage you to take a proactive step in securing your website. You just don’t know, your website could be the next target until it’s too late.
In this article, we will help you with effective ways you can maintain a secure WordPress website from unauthorized access and other cyber threats.
How to Secure WordPress Site
1. Scan Your Website Regularly
There are ways to check if your WordPress site has been infiltrated by hackers. Keep in mind, they’re not 100% guaranteed to wipe out all hacking initiatives but it can reduce the risks. One way to do this is to scan your website on a regular basis using WordPress security plugins (free or premium) to detect any malicious malware on your website. Here are some tools you can try.
Sucuri SiteCheck – Sucuri is one of the most popular free security scanner. It scans against threats like malwares, spam injections, defacements and detects if your website has been blacklisted. Upgrading to their premium version allows you automatic email alerts, blocks suspicious IPs, automatic malware cleanup and blacklist removal.
Theme Authenticity Checker – This nifty little plugin will search source files on each themes installed to scan for any malicious codes. It can check for signs like Base64 code injections and footer link.
Quttera Web Malware Scanner – A free one-click scan plugin that checks WordPress websites for malwares, trojans, viruses, backdoors, spyware, malicious codes and more. This tool can also detect whether your site has been blacklisted by Google or other blacklisting authorities.
2. Use Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication
It’s insane how some people still use “password” or “12345678” as passwords for their websites. These passwords are extremely popular which makes them an easy target for hackers. We have written in great detail some tips on how to create strong passwords or you can simply choose to use LastPass or 1Password to generate random passwords for you.
Aside from having strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication will vastly strengthen your WordPress website’s security. Even if hackers can guess your username and password, they can’t login to your website without a security code or token usually generated from your smartphone.
Google Authenticator plugin is one of the best security authentication tool for WordPress users. It provides a 2-factor authentication solution that uses the Google Authenticator app on Android and iPhone. Other plugins you can also try are: Duo Two-Factor Authentication, OpenID, Authy and Clockwork SMS.
3. Backup your Website
Don’t make this as an afterthought but rather an essential part of your site’s security strategy. Schedule your backups so that when your website is compromised or deleted, you have a backup copy o to restore your website prior to the accident without any problem.
4. Keep WordPress updated.
Whenever you receive an email alerting you of new updated version of WordPress, go to your dashboard and click the “update” button. Of course, before updating it, it’s important to make a quick backup of your site (go back to no. 3) to ensure that your site has copy in case it breaks down. If your website is outdated, the chances of it being vulnerable is higher.
5. Download Plugins and Themes from reputable sources.
Before you hit that download button, do a quick research – read the plugin or theme’s description, date it was last updated (very important!), and ratings or reviews from other users. If you want to use premium plugins and themes, Elegant Themes, WooThemes, and Themezilla are just a few reputable sources you can start with.
6. Same thing for themes and plugins – Always keep them updated.
Just as you would update your WordPress as soon as the new version is available, do the same thing for your themes and plugins. Remember, these themes and plugins can serve as a backdoor to website admin.
Unless properly scanned and vetted carefully by third-party security scanners, this can pose a great risk to your site’s security by opening a secret path for hackers to gain entry to your personal information.
7. Uninstall or remove themes and plugins that you’re not using.
If you have plugins or themes you’re not using, then by all means, get rid of them. In this way, you can lessen the chances of your site being hacked and provide more space for other important programs or files. Don’t just deactivate them, it’s a must for you to click “delete” to permanently delete them.
8. Keep your computer virus and malware-free.
There are times when hackers can access your login information through security loopholes with your computer. The best way to stop this to use an updated antivirus program. Same goes with other programs. When a new software patch or operating system is released, make sure to upgrade them as soon as you can.
9. Get a Secure Web Host
Your choice of web host will ultimately matter if you want to keep your website secure. Going with the cheapest hosting plan might save you a few bucks but they may not provide you with the best security features like website firewall.
This is the reason why your site should get hosted with the most secure web hosting provider you can find. Things you need to consider when shopping for a web host are: website firewall, support for updated MySQL and PHP versions, intrusion detection solution and account isolation.
To Wrap Up
While these tips will not stop cyber threats altogether, it will help a lot to ensure that your WordPress site will not be vulnerable to hacking. Now back to you. What are other things you do to ensure that you have a secure WordPress website? Feel free to share them to our readers below.
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